A weekly community dinner on Tuesday night at the Ruskin Winn-Dixie parking lot.

By Anika Shah

Thanks to a local nonprofit group, some local kids will be more ready for going back to school.
Meet Me in the Streets Ministry is holding a school supply drive to benefit kids in need. The group partnered with Arise Church at SouthShore and is collecting donations at the Winn-Dixie parking lot in Ruskin by Saint Anne Catholic Church on Tuesday nights between 6 and 7 p.m.

Christine Lynn Hicks, co-founder of Meet Me in the Streets Ministry, said that the drive is more than just an event: “The fundraiser provides for children of the community, allowing children to start the school year with everything they need. It also brings us together as a community knowing that we take care of each other and those that can provide have the opportunity to help … this additional expense can be hard on their families.”

Christine and David Hicks have hosted drives for Ruskin Elementary students and teachers in the past and plan to continue next year. Speaking on the impact of the drive, Christine stated, “We expect to provide 100 children with a book bag filled with supplies and additional items for the classroom.”

Tuesday nights are also the time of the ministry’s weekly meals.

Christine explained how she and her husband began the nonprofit: “We started five years ago buying five pizzas and serving them in the Winn-Dixie parking lot in Ruskin. We now serve a hot meal at two locations every Tuesday and provide for over 100 guests. We send a menu out weekly, and all the volunteers pick an item to prepare and bring to the feeding. It is a community effort.”

Last year, the ministry collected over 900 gifts and some of the other events it participated in include holding coat, toy and food drives. This year, it is planning to partner with another nonprofit to collect pop-top ravioli, single-serve tubs of mac and cheese and fruit cups for a backpack food program that provides food for the weekends.

To support, please visit the Meet Me in the Streets Ministry Facebook page at www.facebook.com/meetmeinthestreetministry/. It is always accepting donations and supplies.

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